Medical Update - February 17, 2005

Thursday, February 17th 2005, 11:13 am
By: News On 6

Important news new parents need to know and how technology is giving new hope to Parkinson's patients.

News on 6 anchor LeAnne Taylor has this Medical Update.

We've all heard that breast-feeding is best for babies and now the American Academy of Pediatrics is adding its support for that message. A recent survey by the group finds not enough mothers are choosing to breast feed exclusively for the first six months of life.

It showed 62% of moms are nursing a week after giving birth but that number drops to 14% six months later. The academy is hoping doctors will urge their patients to stick with it.

A new study finds air pollution can damage babies' DNA even before they are born. Researchers tested chromosomes in the umbilical cord blood of newborns. Babies whose mothers had a high exposure to pollution had more damage to their chromosomes. Scientists characterized the damage as the type that tends to linger and make people more susceptible to cancer.

And new hope for patients with Parkinson's, scientists at the University of Nebraska Medical Center have a new machine that produces more detailed pictures of the brain to help doctors pinpoint the disease much earlier.

They are also working on a vaccine that would essentially stop Parkinson's from spreading and maybe even reverse some of the damage. The scientists are quick to caution, this is not a cure, but it shows great promise.